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Making a workbench

I am really pleased to have this workbench project done. As I’m not a avid SketchUp user and my drawing skills are not like Yoav’s, I felt the only sensible way to share a project was to get it done and then discuss the process. It’s the first time I’ve done a longer video series. I had feared the longer form was going to be a of a drag. So far though the feedback is OK. However I have a “DiResta” edit in the background that I’ll post at some point, to break things up a bit.

I’ve decided to try a few new things out on this build. First, the bench is smaller than I’m used to, it comes in at just under 6″ long. This was self determining, as the 8″ construction timber made one leg frame rail with the remainder making the top, apron or tool tray. I think the shorter bench could be a useful option. An 8″ or longer bench is a boon but might not always be needed in a home shop. Only one way to find out!

And for me, it’s a first time for a tool tray. It seems useful to have somewhere to place the tools and keep things organized, and it features heavily in most of my joinery book. I also added a lift out batten that I’ve seen used by Bob Rozaieski and Mike Siemsen to good effect.

Making a workbench

Making a workbench

In addition, the lift out batten gives an option to use an F-Clamp at the bench. I saw this demonstrated by Bill Schenher and thought it could be a great option. In previous posts, you might have noticed I was planning to use untreated “BORG” construction timber, (stud work kinda stuff). It worked pretty well. I have a couple of tips that might help make the best of this grade of timber as the project unfolds. In the long term, if I wanted to change the top of my bench at any point I’d only need to change the top, as the softwood framework is very robust.

Is this an “ultimate” workbench or some other slightly over the top claim? Not even close, it might not even be suited to many people. But the benefits for me are a proven design, good value timber affording me better access to wood for further projects, a vise I get excellent results with, a smaller footprint in my shop and a pretty simple build. I hope you enjoy part 1 and I look forward to sharing the stages of the project as I go.

— Graham Haydon

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Showing 4 comments
  • 12345

    Neat concept. Looking to replace my 8 yr old Nicholson but don’t want to lose the deep aprons. Was toying with a variation of the 21st century bench. Glad you shared.

  • Bill Lattanzio

    Nice work Graham! I am surprised at the size of the bench, as it is larger than it looks in the photo. There are some nice tips here, in particular the clamping. I’m even more happy to see that your hair is as gray as mine 🙂

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